International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

January 15, 2004

January 15, 2004





**  Clerics' ban on parliamentary nominees has put Iran into a "full-blown" political crisis.


**  The outcome of the struggle between hardliners and reformists remains unclear.


**  Khatami must act to counter the mullahs, but his position is "delicate."




'Showdown' between clerics and reformists is 'very serious'--  Commentators worldwide viewed the disqualification of reformist parliamentary candidates by Iran's hardline Guardian Council as amounting to a "coup d'etat by the ultraconservatives" and judged that it had plunged Iran into a "deep political crisis."  The move "could undo years of reform efforts" and provoke "confrontation and chaos."  Iran is "on the verge of a nervous, political and structural breakdown," said Italy's center-right Il Giornale.  Belgium's independent De Morgen termed the Guardian Council's move "a slap in the face" of President Khatami, who is "trying to reform the country step-by-step and draw it out of its international isolation."  A Canadian writer concluded that Iran's "theocrats are shredding the thin veneer of democracy behind which they operate."


Conservatives 'have broken their pledge' on democracy--  Reformist papers in Iran stated that the disqualification of reformist candidates, who "have been regarded as the backbone of the Islamic Revolution," was a "momentous event" that will "more or less determine the fate of the country."  Tehran's reformist Yas-e Now, noting that some pro-reform deputies had previously "justified...forbearance, and retreat vis-à-vis the authoritarians" to preserve "reforms in general," argued that the "pivotal" aspect of reforms--free elections--are "on the verge of annihilation"; reformists needed to show "no weakness" in their protests.  Conservative daily Resalat maintained that reformers were "misinterpreting" the dictums of Ayatollah Khomeini, who "never said" that a "majority of votes" is a measure of the system's "legitimacy."


Mullahs may have overplayed their hand--  Many analysts contended the mullahs "may have miscalculated" and it is "by no means certain" which side will prevail.  Germany's center-right Die Welt noted that nationwide protests against the Council had reached into government ministries, "and this can hardly be ignored."  Though a Russian paper opined that the reformers "have missed their historic chance," other observers held that the hardliners are also "faced with difficult decisions."  Giving in to protests would breach "the dam behind which" they have been hiding from reform, but if they remain "adamant, they will be isolated even more."  Disillusionment with Khatami's failure to "deliver" reform may have weakened his ability to counter the mullahs.  The UAE's English-language Gulf News commented that "Khatami has to take the opportunity presented" by the clerics' action, but he will have to strike "a delicate balance," avoiding fomenting tension but making it clear that he "will not accept the ruling."  Irrespective of the eventual outcome, a Brazilian outlet pointed out, the result of the struggle will affect "the fragile balance of power in the Middle East."


EDITOR:  Steven Wangsness


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 27 reports from 17 countries, January 6-15, 2004.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Khatami Must Not Lose"


The conservative Daily Telegraph had this to say (Internet version, 1/15):  "The current trial of strength in Iran is generally seen as a last-ditch attempt by conservative clerics to save their political skin.  In fact, it could be the reformers, led by President Mohammad Khatami and his parliamentary allies, who go under.  Mr. Khatami swept all before him in the polls between 1997 and 2001, when he was elected for a second term as head of state.  But the hopes aroused by these successes have been dashed and voters have sunk into sullen apathy....  In the present crisis, most of the cabinet, reformist MPs and provincial governors are making a stand against the banning by the conservative Council of Guardians of nearly half the 8,200 candidates for next month's parliamentary poll.  But there is little sign of wider support....  Armed with the constitutional means and the naked force to thwart the reformers, the conservative clerics appear to hold the trump cards.  In the middle, trying to persuade the Council of Guardians to reconsider its decision and the MPs (including his brother) to end their sit-in, stands Mr. Khatami.  Himself part of the clerical establishment, he has tried to effect change through constitutional means.  The problem is that, under the principle of velayat-e faquih, or guardianship of the Islamic jurist, imposed on the country in 1983, ultimate power rests with the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and unelected bodies such as the Council of Guardians.  Unwilling to challenge the source of their authority, Mr. Khatami has simply looked ineffective.  There will be little comfort for Iran if he and his reformist allies go under.  Their failure will leave, on one side, a reinvigorated clerical leadership and, on the other, an electorate that feels unrepresented.  The middle way of reform championed by Mr. Khatami will give way to outright opposition to the revolutionary settlement imposed by Ayatollah Khomeini.  That confrontation could prove really explosive."


"Iran's Overmighty Mullahs"


The conservative Daily Telegraph editorialized (1/12):  "Iran's hardline clerical leadership has debarred some 80 reformist members of the Majlis....  It seems that the clergy hope to capitalize on disillusionment with the failures of the reformists.  If so, they may have miscalculated....  With American forces just over the border in Iraq and Afghanistan, regime change in Iran is no longer inconceivable.  While open support for the opposition would now be counterproductive, if the Iranian people were to rise against their overmighty mullahs, the West would surely show solidarity with them."


GERMANY:  "On A Collision Course In Tehran"


Rudolph Chimelli argued in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (1/14):  "It could be that Iran's conservative forces have asked too much this time.  The attempt of the orthodox clerics to disqualify deputies to get the majority in the vote is threatening to turn into a real state crisis.  And it is by no means certain who will come out as the winner....  More than once a collision has been averted before, but now a compromise is nowhere in sight, since the reformers cannot tolerate the bureaucratic tricks with which the spiritual Constitutional Court wants to push them out of parliament....  The conservatives are faced with difficult decisions, too.  If they give in, the dam behind which they hid from the reform wishes of the Iranians and from international pressure will then break.  If they remain adamant, they will be isolated even more.  Their concessions in the nuclear dispute is an indication that they do not want this.  At that time realism won the upper hand.  It may be a coincidence that Javier Solana was in town to remind them that cooperation with Europe without free elections is impossible."


"They Want To Have A Choice"


Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin editorialized (1/14):  "As long as Iran's constitution allows these democratic and theocratic double structures, the power struggle cannot be resolved and will continue to paralyze Iran's internal development.  Developments since 1997 have shown that the reformers are now at a crossroads.  They will lose all their influence if they do not start to fight for a review of the constitution.  This effort will succeed only if the people join them.  It is true that many Iranians are disappointed at the lack of courage among their elected representatives.  But they could let themselves be convinced that this is the only chance for a free life."


"Plain English For Tehran"


Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg argued (1/14):  "When Iran's Guardian Council disqualifies candidates for the parliamentary elections and when government members threaten to resign, then much more is involved than a power conflict in the country.  It will be decisive for the ability of the entire region to modernize itself whether the Islamic Republic of Iran succeeds in reforming itself.  This is why clear words are now necessary....  Iran's hardliners are pinning their hopes on winning the elections because the voter turnout is likely to be small since the liberal forces will be excluded from the elections.  They also assume that the international community will hardly protest and will even enter into talks with a conservative government.  This is why now, in this decisive stage before the elections, clear words are necessary.  When the issue was Iran's nuclear program, Europe achieved a success with a mixture of a carrot-and-stick policy.  Similar political and economic pressure is now urgently necessary, too."


"Nice Democracy"


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger argued in an editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/13):  "It is not yet possible to say where the conflict between the reformers...and their opponents is heading.  For years the discontent in Iran towards the religiously ordered stagnation and lack of political freedom has been growing.  The hopes the Iranians had pinned on their new president have not come true.  The fact that his brother, the parliamentary vice president, is to be excluded from the polls is a brazen, probably desperate challenge to President Khatami himself.  The protests against it are not the only things showing how precarious the situation is."


"Guardian Council"


Dietrich Alexander noted in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (1/13):  "The events in Iran cannot be exceeded in their cynicism and absurdity.  Even without global outrage, without diplomatic lessons from Javier Solana, and without protests and sit-ins the Iranian Guardian Council will have realized that it has gone too far this time....  Is the move based on pre-election campaign rituals?  Yes, it is, and this is not new, but something else is:  the subordinate institutions do not support the Council's course any longer.  The Interior Ministry has called the decrees illegal and refuses to implement them, and all provincial governors threatened to resign if the Council does not withdraw its decision.  The national protest against the Mullahs has now reached the administrative level, and this can hardly be ignored....  If the governors refuse to obey orders from Tehran, the regime will be in trouble.  This is the stuff revolutions are made of."


"Iranian Democracy"


Right-of-center Volksstimme of Magdeburg (1/13) noted:  "What is the state of democracy in Iran?  If we take the decision of the conservative religious leaders to exclude excessively reform-friendly politicians from the elections, then it is bad.  But if massive protests force the Guardian Council to act in a more subdued manner only a few hours later, then this is the first sign of a new beginning taking place in the country.  The times when the ayatollahs in Tehran kept a parliament that approved all their decisions seem to be over.  But are they over for good?  The Islamic religious leaders continue to have the say in Iran, but they have no longer the absolute rule.  The crack between religious dogma and the longing for freedom is widening.  The parliamentary elections in February will show what the people really think if they are free and fair.  The violent eruption of internal conflicts cannot be ruled out."


ITALY:  "Khatami Threatens Mass Resignations"


Elo Foti observed in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (1/14):  "It's on the verge of a nervous, political and structural breakdown.  This is the state in which Iran woke up...after the decision made on Monday by the Council of the Guardians of the Revolution to whip the front of reformers by invalidating the candidature of 80 delegates and 3,200 ordinary citizens for [February's] political elections....   The Council of Guardians is...making life impossible for 67 million Iranians:  they have banned laws which aim to improve women's conditions, the liberalization of the press, and they have opposed foreign investments and a ban of the practice of torturing prisoners.  Khatami is in a difficult situation.  An idol for young people and for all those who are hoping for a change, he has recently been mocked in a university demonstration in Tehran for not having the courage to seek a head-on clash with the big priests of the conservative wing.  Will he resign?"


"Day Of Reckoning For Iran's Two Souls"


Alberto Negri commented in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore (1/14):  "The reformist President Khatami is threatening to leave if the decision made by the Council of the Guardians of the Revolution, the Pasdaran, to invalidate the majority of candidatures of the political reformists for the upcoming February 20 general elections is not revoked.  The Council of the Pasdaran, a non-elective body dominated by conservatives, is attempting to carry out a 'white coup,' which resembles the one carried out by the generals of Ankara in 1998 against the Turkish fundamentalists and which led to the departure of the Islamists from the government....  In a certain sense, the Pasdran's decision is a brutal opinion survey to measure the reactions of the people and the support enjoyed by the reformists."


RUSSIA:  "Iranian Reformers Lose Chance"


Sergey Strokan commented in business-oriented Kommersant (1/13):  "The 'red light' for reform-minded liberals is more evidence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards' strength and enormous administrative resources.  It is an attempt to draw the line at seeing the 'democratic experiment' through after it started in 1996, when Mohammad Khatami surprised many by becoming president.  Liberals have lost credibility.  Besides, the massive pressure the United States is putting on Iran to shake the regime and help the 'democratic revolution' seems to be counterproductive.  Conservatives, clamoring about the fatherland in jeopardy, are scoring points, while the reformers, as they call for a dialogue with Washington, look like hirelings in the service of foreign powers or the United States' Fifth Column.  Reformers must have missed their historic chance in Iran.  It happens in countries in transition.  As the Iran elections near, the EU will probably be the only ones to grieve at their being unfair.  Iranians won't feel that way.  Nor will George Bush, who lists Iran as part of the global axis of evil, convinced that the leopard can't change his spots."


BELGIUM:  "The Ayatollahs’ Coup"


Foreign editor Frank Schloemer commented in independent De Morgen (1/14):  “Barely one month before the parliamentary elections in Iran the country has wound up in a serious political crisis....  The conservative religious leaders have barred more than 2,000 reputedly reformist candidates from the February 20 elections.  That is nothing less that a disguised coup by the fundamentalist ayatollahs and a slap in the face of President Mohammed Khatami who is trying to reform the country step-by-step and draw it out of its international isolation.  In the Iranian parliament, the reformers have a majority, much to the dissatisfaction of the religious leaders--Ali Khameini in the first place.  The barring of liberal candidates is nothing else than a clear warning that may drag Iran into a deep political crisis and which may divide the country into two hostile camps--even more than is the case today.  There is a serious chance that the may country become unstable--which may have an impact on (the situation in) the Middle East....  All this increases the chance of confrontation and chaos in a country that only recently began to get attention on the international political scene.  Whether and how Iran enters into relations with the West is largely dependent on the outcome of the elections.  A victory of the reformers will make better relations more likely--and that is why those elections are also important for us.”


ROMANIA:  "Iran's Political Crisis"


In the independent daily, Cotidianul, foreign policy analyst C.S.D. opined (1/13):  “Iran is confronted these days with a huge political crisis, after the Guardian Council, the supreme religious body that controls the parliament, fully rejected the candidacies of hundreds of reformists, just a month ahead of parliamentary elections.  The decision of the conservative religious officials, who exert strict control over Iranian political life, has strongly displeased the reformist movement, and created tensions among the state institutions.”


SPAIN:  "Iranian Crossroads"


Centrist La Vanguardia remarked (1/15):  "For years Iran has lived with a certain political schizophrenia....  That the electorate...supports the proposals of change should contribute to greater instability, in that these are thwarted by the clergy.  However, except for sporadic sparks of protests, Iranian society is resigned to its fate, perhaps because the elements of control on the population established by the Khomeini revolution are still very powerful....  The war and the fact that Iran was included by Bush in the 'axis of evil' have had an undeniable impact on the ayatollah's regime, both in its presumed support for terrorist movements and its recent policy of cooperation with the UN on nuclear matters."


"Challenge In Iran"


Left-of-center El País remarked (1/13):  "The decision by the Council of Guardians to reject hundreds of reformist candidates constitutes a coup d'etat covered up by the ultraconservatives of the fundamentalist regime....  Ali Khamenei knows that the priority for Europe and the U.S. is to get Iran to fully commit itself with the nuclear non-proliferation and to ensure the stabilization of an Iraq with a Shiite majority.  But what is really at stake is the possibility of turning into the first post-Islamic and democratic regime."


TURKEY:  "Our Foreign Policy"


Yilmaz Oztuna noted in the conservative-mass appeal Turkiye (1/13):  “Turkey’s relations with Syria and Iran have significantly improved recently.  However, the spring-like atmosphere will not make Washington give up its plans concerning Syria and Iran.  The project is part of a ‘Pax Americana’ from which the U.S. is unlikely to turn back.  Turkey should make its policy based on this fact.”




UAE:  "Khatami Has To Do A Tightrope Walk"


The English-language Gulf News said (Internet version, 1/13):  "The conservatives in Iran have given President Mohammed Khatami a chance to revive his faltering political fortunes by disqualifying thousands of reformist candidates....  Khatami has won two elections on a reform platform but has failed to deliver much to his constituency as the hardline religious establishment has made sure his initiatives were unable to get going.  However, Khatami has to take the opportunity presented by the Council of Guardians apparently over-reaching itself with this extraordinary ban.  Resistance to the move is building up....  The Interior Ministry, which runs the elections, has declared the move illegal.  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all constitutional matters, hinted that a compromise might be possible, saying he might intervene if the conservatives and reformists reach an impasse.  However, Khatami will have to act to resist this move, and he will have to be seen by his supporters to be doing something.  He will have to follow a delicate balance, avoiding fomenting tension but at the same time making it clear that he will not accept the ruling and going to substantial lengths to get it reversed.  His supporters have accepted that the hardliners have well entrenched positions and are hard to overcome but they will not be ready to let this blatant challenge go by without some action....  If he moves carefully but effectively, Khatami could come out of this challenge well placed to win the February election, and to use his victory to put the conservatives on the retreat afterwards."




CHINA:  "Iran’s Political Situation"


Zhang Shuang commented on the official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (1/14):  “Iran’s recent performance on the international stage has been noteworthy.  On the one hand, it signed the ‘nuclear non-proliferation treaty,’ and, showing an unprecedented openness, accepted Western countries’ assistance for the Bam earthquake; but on the other hand, it rebuffed the U.S. government's request for dialogue.  It maintains a conservative attitude in admitting international nuclear inspectors.  This proves that the domestic battle between conservatives and reformists in Iran has reached a fever pitch.  How Iran’s political crisis will end and how Iran will develop in the future to a great extent depend on the conservatives’ attitudes....  Public opinion holds that if the conservatives properly evaluate the situation and take the revoke the prohibitions on the reformist candidates, this would no doubt be a wise way to reconcile the current political crisis and win voters for themselves.”




INDIA:  "Iran Rewinds"


The nationalist Hindustan Times commented (1/13):  "Iran's reform movement has run into rough weather again.  A hard-line Islamic religious authority under supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khameini to vet the candidates list for next month's general elections has disqualified half of the 8,200 names in it, including several sitting members of the 290-seat Parliament.  Many of those 'rejected' are outspoken critics of Iran's strict Islamic religious political system....  What is odd, however, is that the council has now so brazenly taken what's probably the most drastic action against reformers in Iran's parliamentary history.  An immediate casualty of this would be public interest in the polls--an excellent yardstick of what the reform movement has, or hasn't, done in Iran....  It's sad that despite having a constitution, political parties and local and parliamentary elections, democracy is yet to be established in Iran.  At a time when the country's struggling to emerge from isolation on the world stage, such political experimentation can be debilitating."


"Good Effect Of Earthquake?"


Calcutta's independent Bengali Anandabazar Patrika observed (1/12):  "That Iran is now inviting U.S. companies to invest in a big way in its vast oilfields by waiving trade sanctions against America must have been prompted by refrains of the recent Iraq experience.  Would the U.S. Goddess of wealth not realize at this moment more easily the worth of getting this huge oil reserve opened up even without any armed conflict?  Going by the Iranian government thinking, the U.S.'s distancing with Egypt this time around and consequently, Iran-Egypt closeness might also help dawning proper realization on the U.S.  Iran is hinting at conditional negotiation possibly by comprehending that a reduction in hostility and establishment of a normal relationship in the Middle East is extremely important to the U.S.  Iran, under the Islamist authority can never, unlike Libya, be graduated from America's foe to friend even with a series of talks.  Still it would be no mean an achievement if at least half of its 'evilness' gets wiped out in the eyes of the Bush administration."


IRAN:  "A Broken Pledge"


Soheil Mohajer commented in pro-Khatami English-language Tehran daily Iran Daily (Internet version, 1/14):  "By disqualifying a large number of reformist nominees, who are the people's elected representatives in the parliament, the conservative supervisory boards have essentially rejected the performance and credibility of reformers.  This is a clear warning that the Seventh Majlis elections are different from all other parliamentary races held in the post-Islamic Revolution era.  This momentous event will more or less determine the fate of the country....  That the reformers are currently in the spotlight is neither destiny nor the stratagem of the rivals. Conservatives and reformers had agreed that the watchdog Guardians Council would not be too strict with regard to the screening procedure for electoral nominees to promote the active participation of political parties in the vital event....  The disqualification of reformist nominees, who have been regarded as the backbone of the Islamic Revolution, indicates that the conservatives have obviously broken their pledge.  The reformers, who are currently viewed as outsiders, always worked for the success of the Islamic system and never compromised over the system's ideals.  The reformers are still trusted by the public....  Everybody is shocked these days, including the 'silent candidates' who appeared on the electoral scene to pump new blood into the Islamic system."


"The Requirements Of Resistance"


Davud Mohammadi wrote in Tehran's reformist Yas-e Now (Internet version, 1/12):  ""Until now, some of the reformists have justified condescension, forbearance, and retreat vis-à-vis the authoritarians based on the argument of 'the need to grant concessions in order to preserve the reforms in general.'  However, the integrity of the reforms and its pivotal point--that is, free elections--are on the verge of annihilation now.  Therefore, at this juncture no weakness in resistance by any of the reformists is acceptable.  Actually, the stances institutions and political activists take in stabilizing free elections will constitute the point that differentiates between true and fake reformists.  The reformists should refrain seriously from any kind of backstage lobbying for ending their sit-in without acquiring the valuable achievement.  They should make the principle of defending the freedom of elections and refraining from wasting the legitimate rights of all the suitable candidates the 'red line' and the pivot of compromising talks with the conservatives....   The reformists have always sought their sole support among public opinion....  Now that the reform process has reached the point of 'being obliterated or staying on' the reformists should, as in the past, place the peaceful and lawful policy that is based on the support of the majority of the citizens on their agenda and resort to all legitimate potential and actual possibilities at their disposal in order to attract the attention of public opinion at home and abroad."


"Factional Interpretations Of Imam's Words"


Mehdi Aminian remarked in conservative Tehran daily Resalat  (Internet version, 1/6):  "So far, one topic that the reformists have constantly used to back their plans and justify their failure to solve the people's dilemmas is the topic of legitimacy and its real meaning.  They claim that in today's society, some believe that legitimacy, which comes from the majority of votes, means acceptance, and others believe that it comes from the will of God....  Referring to the ever enlightening 'the measure is the people's vote' [quotation from Imam Khomeini], they claim that in the tradition of...[Khomeini] and also in political and social sciences, the people's votes determines the lawfulness of a political system and its institutions....      However, 'the measure is the people's votes' does not necessarily mean that a system's legitimacy is derived from a nation's votes, because this is a general sentence, and Imam Khomeini never said 'the measure of a system's legitimacy is the people's votes.'"




CANADA:  "The Mullahs Run Scared"


The leading Globe and Mail commented (Internet version, 1/14):  "The long-running feud between Iran's hardline clerics and moderate parliament is heading toward a showdown that could undo years of reform efforts.  The fuse was lit Sunday when the powerful, unelected Guardian Council disqualified thousands of candidates from running in next month's parliamentary elections...plunging the country into a full-blown political crisis at a time when it is still reeling from the devastating effects of the recent earthquake....  The reason for their dramatic action this time was obvious.  The clerics...fear that the elections will return an overwhelming majority who support efforts to steer the country toward economic and social liberalization.  This is anathema to the hard-liners, who have consistently blocked major reforms since the moderates won control of parliament for the first time in 2000.  So they simply decided to rig the election and take their chances with the consequences.  For now, Mr. Khatami is applying pressure publicly while working for a solution behind the scenes.  This includes a direct appeal to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's supreme religious leader.  He has so far declined to exercise his power to overturn the council's edict, but may yet to do so if the crisis deepens.  Mr. Khatami, a mullah himself, believes the theocratic system can be modernized without tearing it apart.  Neither the president nor the self-appointed religious establishment relish the prospect of this confrontation escalating out of control.  The electoral successes of Mr. Khatami and his reformist allies in recent years persuaded many younger Iranians that the iron grip of the mullahs would soon give way to the democratic aspirations of the people.  But they have grown increasingly frustrated with the slow pace of change.  Voter turnout in recent elections has fallen precipitously, and the intransigence of the hardliners will only make it tougher for those advocating peaceful transformation to get their voices heard."


"Iran's Pretend Democracy"


The conservative National Post argued (Internet version, 1/14):  "Like many observers, we hoped that Iran's somewhat appreciative reaction to the outpouring of humanitarian assistance from the world community following last month's deadly earthquake might signal a move toward more moderate policies in Tehran.  But that seems to have been naive....  The country's theocrats are shredding the thin veneer of democracy behind which they operate....  President Mohammad Khatami, whose own mildly reformist agenda has been largely thwarted by the Guardian Council and its allies...has spoken out against the decision [to bar some from parliamentary elections] but is urging protestors to stay within the law.  Some media outlets have portrayed the sit-in [by banned parliamentarians] as a major showdown between the forces of democracy and repression.  But that is overblown.  First of all...the difference between Iran's 'reformers' and 'hardliners' is slight:  both generally support a theocratic vision for Iran.  Secondly, given the failure of President Khatami to deliver any real change in the last seven years, most voters are cynical about this week's developments.  Starved as they are for political freedom, there so far seems to be relatively little public support for the sit-in.  The Guardian Council's move casts doubt on the notion that true progress can emerge under the country's current institutional arrangement.  It once seemed possible that Tehran's theocrats would come to understand that Iranians--students in particular--no longer support the radical Islamist agenda that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power in 1979, and would grudgingly accede to democratic rule.  But it now seems more probable that if Iran is to emerge as a free society, it will first have to undergo a true revolution, peaceful or otherwise."


BRAZIL:  "Dangerous Crisis"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (1/14):  "The political crisis in Iran is very serious and its outcome is uncertain.  The dispute between conservatives and reformers may result in a victory of the liberals or in a wave of repression led by the clergy, or even in compromise, which may be the most likely scenario....  Iran's future is fundamental to the fragile balance of power in the Middle East.  A possible worsening of the situation may have repercussions on the Shiite population in Iraq.  And one should always remember that George W. Bush has already included Tehran in the famous 'axis of evil'."



Commentary from ...
Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Western Hemisphere

This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State. Links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Back To Top

blue rule
IIP Home  |  Issue Focus Home